Real Radio

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Real Radio
Real radio.png
Broadcast area Northern England (excluding Cumbria), Central Scotland, Wales
Slogan Real good, feel good radio The Heart Of (TSA), Real Radio.
Frequency Various
Format Adult Contemporary
Language(s) English
Audience share 1.8% (whole of UK) (June 2013, RAJAR)
Owner Global Radio
Sister stations The Arrow, Capital, Capital Xtra, Chill, Classic FM, Gold, Heart, Jazz FM, LBC, Real Radio XS, Smooth Radio, Xfm
Website Real Radio

Real Radio is a network of adult contemporary independent local radio stations which broadcast in northern England, central Scotland and Wales. The stations are now owned by Global Radio and Communicorp UK and will be rebranded to Heart in May 2014.


Logo 2001–2011

Sir Robert Phillis, the former GMG chief executive, enlisted John Myers to establish GMG radio.[1] Myers became managing director of GMG Radio in 1999, who helped the station win its first licence in South Wales in April 2000[2] alongside North and Mid Wales in December 2008 creating Real Radio Wales.[3] Real Radio (Wales), launched on 3 October 2000.[4]

In June 2001, Scot FM was acquired from the Wireless Group, for £25.5 million.[5] Shortly afterwards, a major overhaul of the station took place resulting in Read radio Scotland which launched at 8am on Tuesday 8 January 2002 with breakfast presenter Robin Galloway introducing the first song to be played, A Star is Born.[6]

The third real radio station was launched in Yorkshire on 25 March 2002[7][8][9]

Century FM stations in North East England and North West England were acquired from GCap Media in October 2006.[10][11][12][13] These two stations were rebranded as Real Radio North East and Real Radio North West on 30 March 2009.[14]

From July 2008, the stations stared introducing networked programming[15] during the evening & overnight from Manchester[16] Chris Tarrant hosted a new Saturday morning show from 26 July. Under the one year deal GMG paid nothing for the show while Nissan covers Chris Tarrant salary by sponsoring it. Tarrant manager, Paul Vaughan, said “GMG airs the show and collects all the advertising, while Nissan pays me,”[17]

In 2008 Myers convinced the GMG board to invest £1m in documentaries, a first for commercial radio.[18][19] The Telegraph reported that the BBC needed to hire someone with expertise in commercial radio, but was not a "BBC hater".[19]

From 18 July 2011 On Air With Ryan Seacrest, A US-syndicated show started broadcasting during the evening. The content included snippets form his main Los Angeles show plus re-produced exclusive content for Real. The show focused on all aspects of the entertainment industry, including interviews with top talent from the worlds of music, film and television.[20] But 18 months later in January 2013 his show was no longer broadcast on real radio[21]

Global Radio buyout of GMG Radio[edit]

On 25 June 2012 it was announced Global Radio (the owner of stations such as Capital and Heart) had bought GMG Radio,[22] however the GMG radio stations would continue to operate separately until a regulatory review into the sale is carried out.[23]

On 11 October 2012, The Secretary of State Maria Miller announced Global Radio's takeover of GMG Radio would not be investigated on the grounds of plurality.[24] The Competition Commission was due to publish its final report on 27 March 2013.[25] On 21 February 2013 it was confirmed the decision whether Global Radio can take over all GMG Radio's assets would be delayed, until 22 May 2013, two months later than planned.[26] This resulted in the stations being placed into a holding company the called Real and Smooth Limited.

During this period the listeners of the different station varied. Real Radio Wales, reached a record high of half a million listeners to 510,000. Real Radio Yorkshire increased its listeners by 30,000 taking it to 397,000 weekly reach.

Real Radio North East resulted in a drop from 317,000 to 279,000, and Real Radio North West hit an all time low of 416,000. Real Radio Scotland has seen some of the biggest drops, from 652,000 to 547,000 listeners year on year.[27]

On 21 May 2013 the Competition Commission published their final report into Global Radio's acquisition of GMG Radio. Global must sell radio stations in seven areas of the UK. The stations Global will be required to sell are as follows:[28]

On 14 June 2013 it was reported that Global Radio would appeal against this decision by the Competition Commissions to sell off certain stations.[29]

Merger with Heart[edit]

On 6 February 2014, Global Radio announced it would be rebranding all Real Radio stations as Heart and would be selling Real Radio Yorkshire and Real Radio North Wales to Communicorp. Heart's network programming and brand name will be used under contract.[30] On 25 march 2014, the stations started their first phase of rebranding to "Heart", with the voice overs were changed to using the Heart’s voice over and identifying as “The Heart of Scotland”. Its currently planned the station will be fully re branded in early May[31]


Real Radio broadcasts music[32] and regionally focused chat, news and sport for thirty-something adults.[33] Real Radio is available on FM across Wales, Central Scotland, in England across the North West, North East and South and West Yorkshire, as well as in most major UK regions on DAB digital radio online while Wales is also available on Sky and Freeview.

In addition to the above listed stations, Real Radio also operated a digital-only station, Real Radio (Digital), which broadcast on DAB in several areas where Real did not broadcast on analogue, and also broadcast on Sky. In 2008, Real Digital closed, replaced by the new Jazz FM (UK) in several locations (it was replaced by Rock Radio in the North East and by a relay of Real Radio Wales on Sky).[citation needed]


The five stations in the United Kingdom operated under the Real Radio banner are:

Broadcast area FM Frequency Branding Slogan Note(s)
Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, Teesside 100–102FM [34] Real Radio North East Real good, feel good radio
Central Scotland 100–101FM [35] Real Radio Scotland
Manchester, Liverpool, Crewe, Preston, Blackpool, Chester 105.4FM [36] Real Radio North West
Wales 88, 102 and 105-108 FM [37] Real Radio Wales Available on Sky channel 0146
Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley 106–108FM [38] Real Radio Yorkshire

Listening share decline[edit]

The two former Century FM stations in the North East and North West now have half the listeners they once had.[39][40] Both have seen a decline in Listening Share In TSA % when comparing Q2 period in 2011 and 2012, from 6.30% to 4.8%, and 3.9% to 3.0% respectively.[41] Figures in Scotland have also lowered whilst Wales and Yorkshire remain steady.[42]


On 15 October 2012, it was announced existing Real Radio North West presenters Darren Parks and Debbie Mac would begin networking their respective daytime programmes across the five stations. Weekday breakfast & drivetime and late weekend breakfast shows remain local. The changes came into effect on 5 November 2012.[43]

Networked presenters[edit]

Syndicated presenters[edit]

Local presenters[edit]


  1. ^ Andrews, Amanda (February 28, 2008). "John Myers tends Guardian Media's radio unit". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  2. ^ GMG Radio wins Yorkshire radio licence Georgina Lipscomb, Broadcast, 18 July 2001
  3. ^ GMG Radio sale: Look back at group’s history Radio Today, 25 June 2012
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lorna Martin (2002-01-09). "Real Radio launches big bold challenge to rivals". Sport | SPL | Aberdeen. Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  6. ^ agnes stevenson (2002-01-08). "A new station joins the air wars". Sport | SPL | Aberdeen. Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ name=broadcast>
  9. ^ Radio Authority publishes assessment of South and West Yorkshire licence award Ofcom, 23 July 2001
  10. ^ Guardian buys GCap radio stations Julia Day, The Guardian, 18 October 2006
  11. ^ GMG Radio purchase Century FM Radio Today, 18 October 2006
  12. ^ Who are Real Radio? Real Radio North East
  13. ^ Day, Julia (18 October 2006). "Guardian buys GCap radio stations". The Guardian. Retrieved 2006-03-12. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Galloway to replace Davis for Real, Radio Today, 27 June 2008
  16. ^ Clyde and Real Radio face challenge from rebranded dance music station, Herald Scotland, 30 August 2008
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b Andrews, Amanda (28 Nov 2010). "BBC enlists commercial sector help to shake up radio". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Global Radio seals £50m purchase of GMG Radio Maisie McCabe, Media Week, 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  23. ^ GMG Radio sold to Global for £50m Mark Sweeney, The Guardian, 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  24. ^ No plurality issues for Global GMG merger Radio Today, 11 October 2012
  25. ^ Date set for Global Radio’s CC results Radio Today, 11 October 2012
  26. ^ CC delays Global GMG takeover decision Radio Today, 21 February 2013
  27. ^
  28. ^ Global/GMG final report Competition Commission, 21 May 2013
  29. ^ Global Radio appeals against order to sell off GMG Radio stations Mark Sweney, The Guardian, 14 June 2013
  30. ^ Martin, Roy (2014-02-06). "Communicorp buys 8 Global stations". RadioToday. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ Playlist Real Radio North East
  33. ^ New logos and marketing for Real Radio Radio Today, 26 March 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  34. ^ Listen on Radio Real Radio North East
  35. ^ Listen on Radio Real Radio Scotland
  36. ^ Listen to Radio Real Radio North West
  37. ^ Listen on Radio Real Radio Wales
  38. ^ Listen on Radio Real Radio Yorkshire
  39. ^ Real Radio North East: audience figures Media UK, August 2012
  40. ^ Real Radio North West: audience figures Media UK, August 2012
  41. ^ RAJAR
  42. ^ Around the groups and brands in Q2, 2012 Radio Today, 2 August 2012
  43. ^ Real Radio introduces networked daytimes Radio Today, 15 October 2012

External links[edit]